Connect your Healthcare Bot to channels

A channel is a connection between the Healthcare Bot and communication apps. You may configure the bot to connect to the channels you want it to be available on through the Healthcare Bot Management portal. The Healthcare Bot leverage Azure Bot Service to connect your bot to these channels and facilitates communication between your bot and the user.

The Web Chat channel is pre-configured and allows you to connect your Healthcare Bot to interact with your web application’s users through a web chat control. You can also connect your bot to your own client application using Direct Line as your channel. In addition to standard channels The Healthcare Bot can connect your bot many popular services, such as Facebook Messenger, Microsoft Teams, and Twilio, as well as several others.

Note

In addition to the channels available through the management portal, other Azure Bot Framework channels (such as Slack, Telegram, Skype and others) can be enabled for your instance on request. Submit a request via customer support services from your management portal by navigating to Question menu > Support link.

Develop your bot in a channel-agnostic way

The Healthcare Bot allows you to develop your bot in a channel-agnostic way by normalizing messages that the bot sends to a channel. This involves converting the message to the channel’s schema. However, if the channel does not support all aspects of the schema, the Azure Bot Channel service will try to convert the message to a format that the channel does support. For example, if the bot sends a message that contains a card with action buttons to the Twilio channel, the connector may send the card as an image and include the actions as links in the message’s text.

Setting up a channel

For most channels, you must provide channel configuration information to run your bot on the channel. Most channels require that your bot have an account on the channel, and others, like Facebook Messenger, require your bot to have an application registered with the channel also.

To configure your Healthcare Bot to connect to a channel, complete the following steps:

  1. Sign-in to the Healthcare Bot Management Portal
  2. In the left menu blade, click Channels under Integration.
  3. Select the View or Edit action of the channel you want to enable.

Screenshot of channel view in the management portal

After you've configured and published the channel, users on that channel can start using your bot. The publishing process is different for each channel; you can find here more information on the different publish setting per channel.